December 18, Augusta Holmès (1847-1903)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  On with today’s composer.
Augusta Holmès was born in Paris of Irish descent. He showed great musical talent at a young age but because she was a woman was not allowed to study at the Paris Conservatoire. She took private lessons, eventually studying with César Franck. Listening to these works, can you say she’s not qualified to be in the Pantheon of composers?

La Nuit et l’amour (1888)

Andromède, symphonic poem (1883)


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

10 Responses to December 18, Augusta Holmès (1847-1903)

  1. kvennarad says:

    During Keats and Chapman’s sojourn in Paris, Keats opened a little café that soon became the favourite haunt of artists, poets, and musicians. Drinking, conversation, and intellectual argument often went on late into the night, and it frequently became difficult for Keats to persuade his customers to leave at closing time. It drove him to distraction because, as a foreigner, he was very careful not to break French licensing laws.

    To his frustration, his good friend Chapman was the worst offender, always keeping some writer or composer behind in an argument about ‘réalisme’ or the pentatonic scale. In vain did Keats try to talk to Chapman about this, often extracting a promise from him that was broken the very next evening.

    One night, Keats was busy stacking chairs on tables, sweeping up, emptying the cuspidor, putting towels over the ‘machine à pression’, and so on. Everyone had left, except for Chapman and the composer César Franck, who were discussing come apparently vital matter to do with orchestral colour. Keats tried coughing loudly, rattling crates, jingling the door keys, nothing worked. Eventually he rang the old ship’s bell he kept at the bar, and shouted very loudly:

    “Gentlemen, have yiz got no Holmès to go to?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kurtnemes says:

    Nice pun, but John Keats (1795-1821), Cesar Franck (1882-1890) and George Chapman (c. 1559 – 1634).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kvennarad says:

    Brian O’Nolan, also known as ‘Flann O’Brien’ and ‘Myles na gCopaleen’, was an Irish writer, journalist, and humorist. His regular newspaper column was populated with strange characters, such as the guy at the bus stop who always regaled him with accounts of what ‘The Brother’ had been up to, or The Plain People of Ireland, who offered an occasional comment on what the writer was saying. From time to time he would tell stories of the impossible and anachronistic adventures of the friends Keats and Chapman, in which Keats would invariably deflate the situation by punning a well-known phrase or saying, to the annoyance of Chapman. I’ve been continuing the canon of Keats-and-Chapman stories for some time. I’ll put some more links in a comment below.

    Most of O’Nolan’s work is available in Penguin books, though you might have to search under ‘Flann O’Brien’.


    • kurtnemes says:

      Oh my god. I love these! My swim coach in high school used to tell this one: There was one town that had a problem. Like other towns, they buried their dead in cairns. During the plague, people were being afflicted so fast and since affliction meant certain death, the townspeople would take those who weren’t quite dead yet and dump them in the cairn. This caused a problem. The sick weren’t really happy about this and began to wail and moan. Eventually, their cries became so loud no one in town could sleep. The town fathers (of course) assembled to try stop the noise. One bright spark among them suggested they hew a large lid to put on top of the cairn to stop the noise. It took a fortnight, and when they put it in place, it worked–for a while. Eventually the gasses from the putrefying bodies built up every so often would raise the lid, to burp, at which point the cries of the dying would come blasting out as well. The town mothers, angry at the town fathers (this is a feminist retelling) gathered and came up with a plan. They supported the village by gathering the soft down of the great auk. They rounded up a large number of the these huge flightless birds, and affixed them around the lid of the cairn. Since they were so big, their collective weight kept the lid down and there were no more cries to be heard. When asked by a reporter from the BBC (my anachronistic insertion) how they came up with the idea, the spokeswoman said: “It was simple, really. Everyone knows “Great auks from lids allay cairns groans.”


      • kvennarad says:

        Keats and Chapman were out hiking one day, hoping to conquer one of Scotland’s famous ‘Munros’ and be back at their guest house in time for dinner. Half way up the mountain, Chapman started to limp. By the time they got within sight of the summit he was hopping, and groaning in agony. Eventually he threw himself down on the scree, ripped off his left boot, and clutched his foot.

        “What’s up, old sport?” enquired Keats.

        Through gritted teeth, Chapman told him that he had a small ingrowing callus on his little toe. It hadn’t been hurting too much at the start of their hike, but now it was throbbing and causing him constant pain. Keats nodded in sympathy.

        “Great aches from little toe-corns grow!” he observed.

        Liked by 1 person

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